VATICAN CITY, NOV. 8, 2011 (Zenit.org).- The Vatican and the stem cell research organization with which it has partnered are hosting a three-day international conference on adult stem cells and the promise they hold for health care.
"Adult Stem Cells: Science and the Future of Man and Culture" begins Wednesday and is gathering 350 scientists, religious figures, politicians, educators and industry representatives.
It is sponsored by the U.S. Stem for Life Foundation and by the Pontifical Council for Culture.
The conference was presented today at a press conference led by Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture; Father Tomasz Trafny, head of the Council's science department; Tommy G. Thompson, former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services; and Dr. Robin Smith, president of the Stem for Life Foundation and chief executive of NeoStem, the company which backs the Foundation.
Father Trafny explained that the conference will seek both to publicize the achievements of medical science, and to reflect upon them from the perspective of the human sciences.
"We wish to raise some important and sometimes provocative questions," he said, "such as whether the Hippocratic oath should be extended to all the life sciences, because today it is not only doctors but also laboratory scientists who have power to intervene in all phases of human life."